A Group of Tickets and Passes Related to Horse Racing

Date of Auction: 26th May 2020

Sold for £420

Estimate: £100 - £150

SURREY, Epsom, Hermit, Winner of the Derby, 1867, white metal, by W.J. Taylor, legend, run in a snow storm below, rev. horse standing right, 33mm, 12.20g (BHM –; Grant –). Very fine and very rare £100-£150

Footnote

Hermit (1864-90) was a chestnut stallion standing 15.2 hands. He was bought as a yearling for 1,000 guineas by Capt James Machell on behalf of Henry Chaplin. Chaplin and his close friend, Henry, the 4th Marquess Hastings, became rivals for the same person, Lady Florence Paget. Engaged to Chaplin and just days before their wedding, Lady Florence eloped with Hastings, leaving Chaplin the embarrassed victim of one of the juiciest scandals London had witnessed for a long time. Rivalry between the two men, which involved much acrimony on the part of Hastings, was played out on the racecourse, with Hastings described as a person who ’bought horses as if he was drunk, and betted as if he was mad’. This state of affairs continued until the Epsom Derby in 1867. Hermit was entered, and began his training schedule. But a fortnight before the race he burst a blood vessel in his nose. It seemed that he would have to be withdrawn but his wily trainer, Captain Machell, kept his counsel, and kept Hermit in his stall, with his head tied up in the air. The punters, however, heard about the problem, and Hermit’s odds went out from favourite to 55-1. The day of the race, 22 May, was cold and dark, with heavy snow falling, and Hermit looked particularly miserable. There were 30 runners, including a horse belonging to Lord Hastings. After no less than 10 false starts, which delayed the race for an hour and must have affected the condition of the runners, at the last turn there were only three horses left. Two of them, Marksman and Hermit, were stablemates. Together they raced to the finish, with Hermit winning by a neck. Hastings’ horse did not complete the course and Chaplin won a fortune. Hastings, on the other hand, lost £100,000 in wagers, and a further £20,000 to Chaplin. Ruined, he died a few years later aged 26. Hermit continued to race until the age of five, winning a further 7 races, then he had a long and highly successful career at stud. He died in 1890, aged 25